Truck driver shortage could cause gas pumps to run dry this summer

Gas could be in short supply as drivers get ready to rack up miles on summer road trips.

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It’s not because of low gas production. Rather, there are not enough tanker truck drivers to get fuel from refineries to your local stations, NBC News and CNN reported.

The National Tank Truck Carriers trade group said that there are about 20% to 25% of trucks remaining idle because there are not enough drivers. Compare that to the 10% of trucks not moving in 2019.

The NTTC said this week, “Trucking’s driver shortage already exceeds 50,000 drivers,” NBC News reported.

The coronavirus pandemic is adding to the shortage.

“We’ve been dealing with a driver shortage for a while, but the pandemic took that issue and metastasized it,” Ryan Streblow, the executive vice president of the NTTC, told CNN. “It certainly has grown exponentially.”

The coronavirus shutdown forced tanker truck drivers to leave their jobs because there was little demand for gas.

One tanker company switched what they were hauling last year. Groendyke Transport in Oklahoma switched from delivering fuel to hauing boxes from Amazon. Still, Holly McCormick, vice president at Groendyke told CNN that some drivers didn’t want to do the safety protocols required and they were older so many retired.

Since drivers need not only obtain their commercial driver’s license, they also require training after being hired and special certifications. Schools that would train the new drivers were also shut down during the height of the pandemic, so new drivers were not available to take the place of those retiring.

Companies are also looking to fill dispatcher, office staff and mechanics, NBC News reported.

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